Skin with that ineffable glow is hard to define. Some women seem to have it so effortlessly while others can roll out of bed after 8 hours of sleep and still look hungover or in mourning.

The good news for those of us short glow is that science has evened out the playing field for us short on the genetic lottery stakes. We’ve not only identified every saboteur standing between your skin and that elusive radiance but have also come up with some nifty tricks that can get your skin out of the dumps and into the light.

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PROBLEM: You’re the walking dead
No, not really, but your skin is a walking poster for the ‘unliving’. With dead cells building up faster than our national debt, it’s no wonder that your inner mojo can’t shine through. What’s worse is that your pores are now becoming clogged up with debris that will only wreck havoc on future clarity and happiness of your complexion. According to Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of aesthetic haven SW1, “Think of that dead-cell buildup like dust. Until you wipe it clean, it’s a dingy layer that prevents your skin from reflecting light”. Nuff said. We’re on it!

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SOLUTION: Exfoliate intelligently. After all, your skin is not the toilet floor so put aside those scouring pads and reach instead for gentle microfine crystal scrubs. Our opinion is that any scrub that is rougher than say fine salt is too corase for your skin. We love Crystal Healing because it doubles as a mask to draw out impurities and mattify the skin as well as does double duty as an exfoliator. We swear our skin was a shade brighter after using it!

crystal healing from SW1

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PROBLEM: Your boss, boyfriend, neighbor, ex-bestie
A work deadline, an argument, or a bad night’s sleep has you a little on edge. Then you hear the most dreaded three words ever strung together: “You look tired.” Even if uttered from a well-meaning source, nothing is more irksome than having your failings put into words. Stress hormones are the culprit behind your skin’s tantrums. From it looking sallow to pimples popping up like fireworks on National Day, nothing is spared if stress hormones have it their way.

Cortisol, your stress hormones, are literally your fight-or-flight response; they redirect blood flow to your vital organs, not your face, leading to skin looking sallow, explains Dr Low.

SOLUTION: Short of enrolling in a meditation class or hiring a gangster to beat up the wrongdoer in your life, you can calm your skin instantly by bathing it in some kickass skin recovery light. “The first time I had the Deep red facial, and I laid under the LED Red lights, my skin literally glowed for weeks after” says Daniella, a beauty blogger.

Stressed out skin needs special care. Suffocating it under a truckload of heavy products can sometimes make the problem worse. What also works wonders is a shot of ocygen for the skin. Oxyshot comes in a full facial mask version where the skin is gently bathed in 100% pure O2, or the intensive version, where the oxygen is delivered in little pulses on the skin. Either way the result is guaranteed calm and high wattage radiance!

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PROBLEM: You’re dehydrated
Without moisture, your skin looks dull, but the problem is deeper than you may realize. Loss of hydration from below the skin’s surface — in the dermis and the lower levels of the epidermis — causes a decrease in the thickness of the skin. That’s not good news on any given day, that’s why dermatologists always advice their patients to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. However, many people wrongly assume that if they have combination or oily skin, they can skip this step. Afraid not. Your skin’s sebum is not exactly the same as the vitamin enriched hyaluronic acid hydrators in terms of end point. Even if you sport a combo skin type, it’s worthwhile to cleanse off dirt, debris and sebum and rehydrate your skin with a good hydrator.

SOLUTION: Not all moisturisers are made the same. If you have dry skin type, go for something richer and creamier, and if you have oilier skin, then go for a serum. Either way, pick one that has active ingredients that pay dividends in the long run such as vitamin A found in Age Defy or probiotics found in Blue Orchid (fabulous for acne prone skin types).

age defy

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PROBLEM: You’re malnourished
We’re talking about your skin so you can out aside the cheeseburger for now. Our skin is constantly exposed to environmental and UV onslaught, it’s no wonder it needs a continuous supply of antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Unlike our snack habit which sees us stealing sustenance from the pantry up to four times a day, most of us would devote about once or twice a day to replenishing our skins’ needs. And even then, sometimes we’re so tired by the time we get home that we even forget to rub in some vitamin serum or undereye cream. Can we then blame our skin for acting up?

SOLUTION: Pop a daily multivitamin. We may be expanding at our wasitline but much of what we eat are empty calories and are nutritionally empty. Oral probiotics are another good way to balance out your skin microbiome and reduce skin inflammations and other nasties. More direct to the point is to undergo Illuminate. This is an in-clinic treatment which according to the therapists at SW1 Spa, involves coaxing a specially concocted cocktail of tranexamic acid and vitamin C into the skin with some high tech gadgets. The end result is skin that is a shade fairer, suppler and more resilient to life’s challenges! We love it for its straight to the point delivery, and the visible results after a quick 30 minute session.

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PROBLEM: You’re sun damaged
Many people assume that you have to bake under the sun to get skin damage. That’s not true. Everytime you step out of your doors without sunscreen, you are already exposing your skin to some amount of damage. Sun damage doesn’t occur under hot humid conditions, infact it is most insidious when it takes place in a cool but sunny locale (think ski slopes or beside your office window). So it’s no surprise when pigmentation crop up over time despite your obvious alarm. In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. Allover hyperpigmentation, which can result in mottled skin. Sun damage is also a main cause of weakened collagen — and the slack, dull skin that comes with it.

SOLUTION: Wear. Sunscreen. No treatment will be effective as long as your skin is still exposed. Best on the market has got to be medical grade Umbrella, originally meant for patients post-laser, they have garnered such mainstream popularity that almost everyone I know who is serious about looking young has a bottle of it stashed somewhere. Once you have secured a bottle of that, then go full battle against your mottled complexion with BBL Forever young. It multitasks as a complexion brightener, pigment eraser and skin tightener. Any bases not covered yet?

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